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Release of Italian may get delayed: Indian chief minister

(Xinhua)

09:17, March 30, 2012

KOLKATA, India, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The eastern Indian state Odisha's Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Thursday negotiations with the two ultra-left Naxal-backed mediators to secure the release of an Italian still in captivity could get delayed as the rebels have raised new demands.

He told local media the government has received some additional demands from the Naxals backed mediators for the release of Paolo Basusco.

"They are now being examined. The examination of these demands may take a day or more," Patnaik told reporters without disclosing the detail of the new demands.

On the other hand, tribal expert B.D. Sharma, one of the Naxal mediators, refuted Patnaik's claim, saying they have not placed any new demand.

He said the demands they raised during their talks with three officials representing the government were the same which the rebels have been demanding from the beginning of the abduction of the Italians.

The rebels had abducted Paolo, 54, and Claudio Colangelo, 61 from a forested area on the border of Ganjam and Kandhamal districts on March 14.

The rebels however Sunday released Colangelo in a "goodwill gesture" but kept Paolo, a day after another group of Naxals kidnapped ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) legislator Jhina Hikaka in a hilly area of Koraput district.

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